Russell Investments’ 2016 Global Market Outlook–Q2 Update: Near-term recession unlikely, despite downside risks

  • Central bank policies and anxiety drive global market volatility
  • Equity upside remains with modest values available in Europe and Asia

SYDNEY, 30 MARCH 2016 — Russell Investments released its 2016 Global Market Outlook – Q2 Update, offering the latest economic insights and market forecasts from its global team of investment strategists, which help guide the firm’s multi-asset portfolios and services.

The firm’s strategists expect business cycle support for global equities to weaken and government bond prices to remain rich in 2016, as the difference between hawkish (U.S.) and dovish (Europe, Japan) monetary policies drives market volatility. Regarding China, the team believes the economic downturn still appears to be heading for a ‘soft landing,' but if there is a year when skeptics will be proven correct, this is it.

"Among the bright spots we see in the Asia-Pacific region are India, which is growing strongly, and Australia and New Zealand, where property markets remain surprisingly well-behaved,” said Graham Harman, Russell Investments’ senior investment strategist, Asia-Pacific. “In Australia and New Zealand, though, there is a risk that recession in the commodity sectors could broaden to the still-booming housing sectors."

In the U.S., the team believes two Federal Reserve rate hikes during 2016 are likely to help push the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield to the 2.3% range over the next 12 months. As for U.S. equities, they now have a higher probability of holding to low single-digit returns for 2016, versus a projection of low-to-mid single digits at the beginning of the year, as a result of expensive valuations and waning price momentum. The good news is that even with gross domestic product (GDP) and corporate profits weakening, the likelihood for a near-term U.S. recession remains low.

"We have an underweight preference for U.S. equities in global portfolios as lacklustre earnings and rich valuations suppress total-return expectations to near-zero over the next 12 months,” said Paul Eitelman, investment strategist, North America. “While we do see more prevalent downside risks for the U.S. following the first quarter of 2016, the lack of major imbalances in the U.S. economy makes a recession this year unlikely."

In contrast to the U.S., eurozone equities are being helped by quantitative easing (QE) and offer some reasonable valuations that are preferred by the team of strategists. However, further QE announcements are not having a big impact on either the euro or the Japanese yen. As a result, the team believes the U.S. dollar (USD) bull run is expected to run out of steam this year.

Russell Investments’ global team of investment strategists determines its global outlook through a clearly defined process that is based on the building blocks of business cycle, valuation and sentiment. Their current global market perspectives are as follows:

  • Business Cycle: The cycle is becoming less supportive for equities. The strategists believe Europe and Japan still have the most favourable cycle backdrop due to supportive monetary policy, weak exchange rates and the potential for rising profit margins. The cycle is now neutral for U.S. equities given the risks around earnings-per-share (EPS) growth and the potential for further Fed tightening. The cycle is negative for emerging markets amid slowing growth, export weakness and a deteriorating outlook for EPS growth.
  • Valuation: The early first quarter 2016 pullback in equity markets has improved value across developed markets. The U.S. is still rated as the most expensive, as of March 30, 2016, while Japanese and European equities are slightly cheaper and emerging market equities are moderately cheap.
  • Sentiment: Price momentum is negative in every region, which is a negative sentiment indicator. Contrarian indicators, however, still point to modestly oversold conditions, providing a counterbalance to negative price momentum. Overall, sentiment is neutral across the major regions.

Updated regional exposure forecasts

The strategists also updated their forecasts across global regions and asset classes for 2016, as of March 30, 2016, including:

  • Asia-Pacific: The team expects low absolute returns and high volatility from regional equities. Bonds in the region are at extremes of expensive valuation, while the business cycle is a mixed bag.
  • United States: The team has an underweight preference for U.S. equities in global portfolios and expects total returns near zero over the next 12 months.
  • Eurozone: Russell Investments maintains an overweight preference for eurozone. Slowing global growth and global earnings expectations pose worries, but the team believes strong eurozone fundamentals carry the day, for now.
  • Currency: The team foresees a plateauing USD exchange rate. The yen’s attractive valuation and defensive characteristics make it the strategists’ top currency pick. The team also believes a significant selloff in developing country currencies would be a buying opportunity.
  • Fixed Income: The outlook for government bonds remains poor with negative 10-year Treasury yields in Japan and close to record lows in the U.S. and Europe; however, the outlook is less negative as a result of the weakening business cycle.

Russell Investments, a global asset manager, is one of only a few firms that offers actively managed multi-asset portfolios and services that include advice, investments and implementation. Russell Investments stands with institutional investors, financial advisors and individuals working with their advisors—using the firm’s core capabilities that extend across capital market insights, manager research, asset allocation, portfolio implementation and factor exposuresto help each achieve their desired investment outcomes.

For more information, please see the report here.

About Russell Investments

Russell Investments, a global asset manager, is one of only a few firms that offers actively managed multi-asset portfolios and services that include advice, investments and implementation. Russell Investments stands with institutional investors, financial advisors and individuals working with their advisors—using the firm’s core capabilities that extend across capital market insights, manager research, asset allocation, portfolio implementation and factor exposures—to help each achieve their desired investment outcomes.

Russell Investments has more than AUD $332 billion in assets under management (as of 31 December 2015) and works with more than 2,500 institutional clients, independent distribution partners and individual investors globally. As a consultant to some of the largest pools of capital in the world, Russell Investments has $2.2 trillion in assets under advisement (as of 6/30/2015). The firm has four decades of experience researching and selecting investment managers and meets annually with more than 2,200 managers around the world. Russell Investments also traded more than $1.7 trillion in 2014 through its implementation services business.

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Russell Investments operates globally, including through its offices in Seattle, New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Dubai, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Toronto, Chicago and Milwaukee. For more information about how Russell Investments helps to improve financial security for people, visit  https://russellinvestments.com/au/  or follow @Russell_News.

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These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and are current as of the date at the top of the page. The information, analysis, and opinions expressed herein are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or entity.

Investing involves risk and principal loss is possible.

Forecasting is inherently uncertain and may be incorrect. It is not representative of a projection of the stock market, or of any specific investment.

Investments that are allocated across multiple types of securities may be exposed to a variety of risks based on the asset classes, investment styles, market sectors, and size of companies preferred by the investment managers. Investors should consider how the combined risks impact their total investment portfolio and understand that different risks can lead to varying financial consequences, including loss of principal.

Issued by Russell Investment Management Ltd ABN 53 068 338 974, AFS Licence 247185 (RIM). This document provides general information only and has not prepared having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making an investment decision, you need to consider whether this information is appropriate to your objectives, financial situation or needs. This information has been compiled from sources considered to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

Nothing contained in this material is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type. The general information contained in this publication should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from a licensed professional.

First Used: March 2016



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